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Old 03-14-2011, 11:18 PM   #136
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Japan faced the likelihood of a catastrophic nuclear accident Tuesday morning, as an explosion at the most crippled of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station damaged its crucial steel containment structure, emergency workers were withdrawn from the plant, and a fire at a fourth reactor spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to official statements and industry executives informed about the developments. “No. 4 is currently burning and we assume radiation is being released. We are trying to put out the fire and cool down the reactor,” the chief government spokesman, Yukio Edano, told a televised press conference. “There were no fuel rods in the reactor, but spent fuel rods are inside.” Government officials also said the containment structure of the No. 2 reactor had suffered damage during an explosion shortly after 6 AM on Tuesday.

They initially suggested that the damage was limited and that emergency operations aimed at cooling the nuclear fuel at three stricken reactors with seawater would continue. But industry executives said that in fact the situation had spiraled out of control and that all plant workers needed to leave the plant to avoid excessive exposure to radioactive leaks. If all workers do in fact leave the plant, the nuclear fuel in all three reactors is likely to melt down, which would lead to wholesale releases of radioactive material—by far the largest accident of its kind since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago.

Reports of an imminent worsening of the problem came after a frantic day and night of rescue efforts focused largely on the No. 2 reactor. There, a malfunctioning valve prevented workers from manually venting the containment vessel to release pressure and allow fresh seawater to be injected into it. That meant that the extraordinary remedy emergency workers have been using to keep the nuclear fuel from overheating no longer worked. As a result, the nuclear fuel in that reactor was exposed for many hours, increasing the risk of a breach of the container vessel and a more dangerous emissions of radioactive particles.


By Tuesday morning, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said it had fixed the valve and resumed seawater injections, but that they had detected possible leaks in the containment vessel that prevented water from fully covering the fuel rods. Then the explosion hit the same reactor. The operator initially reported that the blast may have damaged the bottom part of the container vessel, but later said radiation levels had not risen high enough to suggest a major escalation of the problem. While they did not immediately provide a detailed account of what happened at the reactor, government and company officials initially ruled out a serious breach that could lead to massive radioactive leaks or a full meltdown of the nuclear fuel.

Even if a full meltdown is averted, Japanese officials have been facing unpalatable options. One was to continue flooding the reactors and venting the resulting steam, while hoping that the prevailing winds, which have headed across the Pacific, did not turn south toward Tokyo or west, across northern Japan to the Korean Peninsula. The other was to hope that the worst of the overheating was over, and that with the passage of a few more days the nuclear cores would cool enough to essentially entomb the radioactivity inside the plants, which clearly will never be used again. Both approaches carried huge risks.

While Japanese officials made no comparisons to past accidents, the release of an unknown quantity of radioactive gases and particles—all signs that the reactor cores were damaged from at least partial melting of fuel—added considerable tension to the effort to cool the reactors. “It’s way past Three Mile Island already,” said Frank von Hippel, a physicist and professor at Princeton. “The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion.”
That sure doesn't sound good.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:25 AM   #137
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http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/03/14/gi...aflc-cut-ties/

But who will sell me insurance obnoxiously now????

It could be you! Casting calls going on now.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:23 AM   #138
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This is the worst natural disaster in my lifetime. Actually probably behind Haiti, a much poorer nation who have been forgotten about and who may never recover.

A prominent Western reporter says Japan is quiet, not angry or complaining. He says the dignity with which many are reacting is astounding.

2,000 people just "washed up", like a mass of dead fish.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:30 AM   #139
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This is the worst natural disaster in my lifetime. Actually probably behind Haiti, a much poorer nation who have been forgotten about and who may never recover.
Surely you're not too young to remember the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004?
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:38 AM   #140
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Course not, but I have forgotten some of the details of that disaster.

I'll just stop, it feels quite wrong to "rank" disasters.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:04 AM   #141
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Tonight I came across something that broke my heart. I found a cassette tape that had a voice letter on it from one of my Japanese friends in high school. She had come to my city on an exchange for a year, and we kept in touch for several years after she had gone back to Japan. I was able to listen to the tape tonight. She kept talking about how much she loved Canada and wanted to come back and see our group of friends again, and that she was so lonely in Japan. I could not stop crying while I was listening to the tape. At the very end, she says in a loud and clear voice: "My name is Sachie. Never forget me. I love you." I haven't ever forgotten her, but obviously I haven't thought of her as much as we lost contact many years ago. I'm thinking of her tonight, and I hope she's okay. I don't remember the name of the city where she was from, but I know it was in the northeast. It seems weird to be getting so upset over a person that I knew in high school and whom I haven't had any contact with in years, but yeah. She was an awesome, fun, vivacious girl, and I hope her and her family are okay tonight, wherever they are in Japan.
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:24 AM   #142
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A prominent Western reporter says Japan is quiet, not angry or complaining. He says the dignity with which many are reacting is astounding.
Japan has got to be the most civil society in the world. If any group of people could handle a crisis like this, it would be the Japanese.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:43 AM   #143
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http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/03/14/gi...aflc-cut-ties/

But who will sell me insurance obnoxiously now????

It could be you! Casting calls going on now.
There are two things shocking about this particular story... 1) I didn't realize gilbert was the aflac duck, 2) how the hell did aflac not realize that gilbert godfried was a filthy comic? Did they miss the roasts he's been on?
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:53 AM   #144
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Gareth Morgan forced to flee tsunami | Stuff.co.nz

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New Zealand businessman Gareth Morgan thought he was safe from the Japanese tsunami at a beachside hotel in the Galapagos Islands, but his illusion was smashed by a three-metre wave.

Mr Morgan and his wife, Jo, were kicking back at the Finch Bay Hotel on Santa Cruz Island when Friday's quake struck.

They followed the tsunami alerts on the internet but thought the danger had passed as alerts were lifted around the world.

But 20 hours after the quake, hotel patrons and residents from the nearby township were evacuated to higher ground.

"We thought they were being drama queens, really," Mr Morgan said. "Then the word came that the sea had sucked right out and it was coming back in at a two to three metre height."

The giant wave ripped across the beach and smashed into the hotel.

"The swimming pool, which ended up with turtles in it, was a mess. The bar was destroyed and the restaurant too, and six of the low-lying rooms.

"My God. It was horrible. It will be shut for a month or two while they rebuild it. The hotel is uninhabitable."

The hotel is built on a spit with access by boat and then a beachside walkway, Mr Morgan said.

"The whole boardwalk to the hotel was demolished. It ended up in the mangroves."

The main street of the nearby Puerto Ayora township was flooded and no-one – locals or tourists – could believe what they were seeing.

"We are so far away from Japan here. It is incredible."

...

The Galapagos Islands are a chain of volcanic islands about 970 kilometres west of Ecuador.
fark, that shit didn't fuck around.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:26 AM   #145
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I saw this show on the Discovery channel about a volcano in the Canaries. At the next eruption, a huge chunk of it could slide into the Atlantic creating a mega tsunami that would race across the ocean and pretty much obliterate the eastern seaboard. Manhattan and Miami would be completely submerged, as would all the islands in the Caribbean and the coast of Brazil.
It's not worth losing any sleep over (I think there's only a 30% chance it will happen in the next 10,000 years) but my God if it did happen within our lifetimes...it just gives you chills thinking about it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:55 AM   #146
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what's blowing my mind is the fact that this happened in Japan. Japan. the name is synonymous with technology, future, standards, order, etc. if any country on earth should be prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis, it's this one.

and still, look what happened. we are totally powerless and can be smashed like glass should the earth decide to hiccup.

just devastating.

(and what's even more staggering, is that tens of thousands of people, or more, are alive precisely because the Japanese government has such high engineering standards and people really do know what to do ... but then, there's only so much you can do)
You would think that the overall affluence of a country allows it to respond efficiently when natural disasters occur, but that's not always the case.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #147
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I saw this show on the Discovery channel about a volcano in the Canaries. At the next eruption, a huge chunk of it could slide into the Atlantic creating a mega tsunami that would race across the ocean and pretty much obliterate the eastern seaboard. Manhattan and Miami would be completely submerged, as would all the islands in the Caribbean and the coast of Brazil.
It's not worth losing any sleep over (I think there's only a 30% chance it will happen in the next 10,000 years) but my God if it did happen within our lifetimes...it just gives you chills thinking about it.
Yeah, I saw that, too--not a pleasant thought.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:33 AM   #148
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You would think that the overall affluence of a country allows it to respond efficiently when natural disasters occur, but that's not always the case.
just look at new orleans...


but i do think the japanese government and people have responded to this tragedy as best they possibly could have... they're just absolutely powerless to do anything about it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:34 AM   #149
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I saw this show on the Discovery channel about a volcano in the Canaries. At the next eruption, a huge chunk of it could slide into the Atlantic creating a mega tsunami that would race across the ocean and pretty much obliterate the eastern seaboard. Manhattan and Miami would be completely submerged, as would all the islands in the Caribbean and the coast of Brazil.
It's not worth losing any sleep over (I think there's only a 30% chance it will happen in the next 10,000 years) but my God if it did happen within our lifetimes...it just gives you chills thinking about it.
swell.

i suppose this means next time i'm apartment shopping i should look into a higher floor.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:31 PM   #150
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You would think that the overall affluence of a country allows it to respond efficiently when natural disasters occur, but that's not always the case.
i think they are handling it really amazingly actually!

i dread to think how other countries would have coped under the same circumstances...
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